Friday, March 30, 2012

Celtic Connection

I love Celtic music in a big way. Being all Norwegian and Finnish, you'd think I'd gravitate toward that, and I do like it. But there is something about the lilt of an Irish Jig that really sets my toes a tapping, and I find it completely irresistable. My very soul is moved and transported to the magical hills of Ireland, and I find myself longing for a land I've never been to except in books, pictures and movies. But the music can surround me and flow through my fingertips through my dulcimer, and out my mouth in singing. And my locks of light auburn waves fit the music so well, and the color comes from a bottle, but I can't be any other color. It suits me as well as the music suits my soul.

I found an amazing online source in The Session today. So I have signed up to fuel my obsession even further. Another useful link is the Irish Traditional Music Archive, which is an online treasure for folks like me. Add to that the following:
And I'm in my very happy place. I am seriously ready to retire right now, I have so many projects to keep my heart dancing, my fingers strumming, and my soul singing. Twenty years of work and then, then, I will be able to retire and pursue my passion full time. I should be a pretty good player by then anyway!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Strings and Songwriting

An amazing thing happens sometimes when I am playing my dulcimer, sometimes I get a musical phrase that is all my own. I'm building a relationship with her, my dulcimer named Mary Ann, and she is telling me her secrets bit by bit. I have written one tune, and have another one in the works, and I am looking forward to this wonderful dialog. Right now I'm concentrating on going through the book "Lapidus on Dulcimer 2" and so I am joyfully working on new songs!

The other thing I want to get back to is learning more traditional Finnish tunes on my dulcimer. It's an adventure for sure, as I'm still learning to play. Hey, I just started to learn my first song in DAa! I've been a solid DAd player since getting her last May. Which reminds me, her first birthday is coming up soon, April 19th  and then there is her adoption date, which conveniently matches my wedding anniversary of May 13th. I might as well be rambling on about a girlfriend that I'm infatuated with, because that kind of sums up the relationship. We're very close and I absolutely adore her. There is so much to be thankful for in the past year, and I'm starting to take her out and about and play her at some jams. Tomorrow night we're going to St. Paul to join in on one, and I hope we do well. We will endeavor to have a good time anyway.

I can't remember how I stumbled across this next clip, but there is an interesting Zither there, and I'm super inspired by it, you may be too. It's Basia Bulats and she's playing a zither called a Pianoette in the video. She also plays autoharp. I'm currently searching out her videos online.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Music and Fiction

This past weekend was spent hanging at MarsCon 2012, one of the local Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions. You might be asking yourself what that has to do with music, and all I have to say is LOTS. The theme this year was "Rockin' The Apocolypse" and it certainly lived up the title. One of the new things to come along is funny music with a SF&F or Fan theme. It is a great creative mix that's called the Dementia track and is put together each year by the great Luke Ski. It's fun and music taken to an extreme. There are some seriously talented folks who present each year, and not all of their stuff is Dementia oriented.

Case in point, the talented Beth Kinderman. She really is a fantastic songwriter, and it's mostly SF&F fan stuff. But it's her passion and she has been pursuing it relentlessly for the past several years. If you are a fan and are familiar with the term Mary Sue, you need to check out the lyrics of her song of that title. She also was one of the hosts of the Space Oddity Music Club & Brew Pub room party at MarsCon 2012. That's where I came in. Friday night there was a music circle and I brought my dulcimer as I threatened to. I managed to fumble through about four songs, and drummed a bit on another. I consider it a good effort on my part, and I managed to avoid the epic crash and burn that I did at Convergence in 2010 with my Autoharp.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Dulcimer Book 2.0

A week ago I finally broke down and ordered Lapidus on Dulcimer 2. It is THE place to get tab/music of Joni Mitchell's four tunes written on the mountain dulcimer from her album "Blue". I fell in love with "Carey" when I saw Cyndi Lauper sing it on a tribute to Joni on TV years ago, and I've always loved "A Case of You" since I first heard it, who knows how long ago now. So I've been aware of this book since it was featured in Dulcimer Player News, added to a very long wish list of dulcimer related items that I want to aquire. I waited patiently...and it finally arrived last night! :)

Since I purchased it directly from the author it is a signed copy. This makes the geek in me quite happy, and the hippy in me loves the story of the book and how it came to be at the back. In just about a week I'll be going to one of my favorite SF&F conventions in town and a friend is hosting a music and gaming room, I plan to sit in on some music circles and enjoy hanging out with other music geeks like me. After that, I will dive in head first and study the book from cover to cover. There are lots of good lessons, chord charts, alternate tunings galore, and songs by all of the cool kids in there.

It looks like I haven't been updating in a while here, I've been very distracted with being distracted. My dulcimer now has a shiney new 1 1/2 fret and I've been happily playing with that, re-learning some of my favorite songs. Not having my dear Mary Ann for about three weeks threw me into a musical tizzy, and I found myself soothing my nerves with my kantele quite a bit. But that's the subject of a completely different post. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled to get my dulcimer back on my lap. She is a darling instrument and she sits quietly each morning in her stand as I sip my coffee and write in my journal. The cats think I'm just sitting and adoring them, but Mary Ann is part of the family as well.

And now I've got a thick juicy book to work through, so Spring is already arrived in my music room. I can't wait to see the flowers start to emerge and bloom to the sound of my dulcimer. That reminds me, I've been wanting to learn The Garden Song since before I got my dulcimer...I'll have to look up the chords for that one.